"This is the elite camp in the south, and I'm very impressed with the high schools and the coaches' commitment to wanting to get better," said USF offensive coordinator Mike Canales. "That shows with the number of teams that are coming to this year's camp."
Since its inception thirteen years ago when the field consisted of just 8 teams, the two-day event has become the premier event of the summer, attracting some of the top athletes in the state of Florida. This year, will certainly be no exception as 62++ schools from every corner of the state will fill the USF intramural fields for non-stop football action.
"When the teams compete against each other, they know each other better and when it's a competitive field with some of the best schools, it gives the kids confidence and makes them better players, and that transfers onto the playing field." said Canales.
This year field includes powerhouse teams from as far away as Miami, Tallahassee, Naples, Jacksonville, Ocala, and as close as Tampa/St. Petersburg. That's over 1,300 Florida high school athletes on campus, playing over 120 games over the two days.
"They're coming in to compete against some of the top teams in the state. That's impressive alone to see the teams from down South, up North, Orlando, and down in Sarasota and Ft. Myers area and Ocala. It's a great opportunity for them to showcase their talents, but also get them on our field and showcase our program as well."
When USF held its first Sling & Shoot 13 years ago, the field consisted of 8 mostly local high schools, but this year's field has grown to include over 64 teams competing in the passing tournament.
"Back when we started we had eight teams and CCC won it that year," said USF offensive coordinator Mike Canales. "Since than two teams that won it have gone on to win state championships. The two years that Plant has won our tournament they went on to win state, and that says something."
Last year USF added the Big Man Challenge to the event, so that the linemen could accompany the skilled players during the weekend of competition, and that has increased the talent on campus to a another level, and with the two camps going simultaneously, this weekend's event in will have some of the best talent in the state at one place, and at one time.
"What's also helped is adding the Big Man challenge to the camp which allows the big offensive & defensive linemen to work out at the same time, so it's a great opportunity for everybody."
"I think it's the top camp in the south, and in terms of a 7 on 7 were second to only Texas, but with both camps combined we're the number one in the country," said Canales. "Nobody has this type of numbers, and that's a compliment to our program, Coach Leavitt and the product that we're putting on the field."
From all over Florida teams come to USF with the idea of competing against some of the elite squads around, and this Saturday and Sunday will feature 60 plus teams including some of the top programs in the state, with some of the top talent in the nation on hand, with all looking to come home as the tourney champions.
‘You come to USF, you better come ready to play," said Plant Head coach Robert Weiner. "There are so many teams with so much talent that you got to play you're a-game when at USF's sling & Shoot."
Last year event had 46 teams with some incredible matchups that led to 100's of observers watching the title game between Plant and Palm Beach Atlantic, with Plant winning the 2008 Sling & Shoot tournament with a thrilling 34-33 overtime victory against Atlantic.
"We play 7 on 7's all over the place, and all over the nation, and we always say if you can compete at the USF Sling & Shoot, than you can play anywhere," said Plant Head coach Robert Weiner. They have the toughest competition there is, and you won't see better speed then we will at USF. "We're excited and ready to go for this year's event.
Weiner's Plant 2 team also won in the Small School Division, where Plant's junior varsity team defeated first-year program Carroll Wood Day School Prep. Sophomore quarterback Phillip Ely threw three touchdowns in the championship game, which was very valuable when Murray got injured during the season.
"It's great to win weather it's the small school division or the large school, if you win a championship, you learn how to win," said Weiner. "Phillip Ely's experience last year served him very well when we needed him. We'll have two teams again this year and hope to take both trophies again."
This year event will feature 62 teams from all over Florida and as of now the pools are the following:
Pool A- Alonso, St. Cloud, Jacksonville Lee; Plant, Lake Weir, Western, Dunedin;
Pool B – Leto, Charlotte, Park Vista, CCC; Ocala Forrest, Bayside, Naples, Countryside
Pool C - Bloomingdale - Sebring, South Sumter, Hollywood Hills; Jefferson - Zephyrhills, Boca, East Lake; Pool D - Freedom - Dr. Phillips, McArthur, Mulberry; Plant City, Wharton, Venice, Land O' Lakes;
Pool E -Armwood - Deland, Braddock, Cardinal Mooney; Brandon, Hillsborough, Coral Reef;
Pool F -Gaither, Spoto, Winter Park, Tarpon Springs; Tampa Catholic, Riverview, Palm Beach Lakes, Lakewood;
Pool G -Middleton - Treasure Coast, Sarasota Riverview, Kathleen; Dwyer, Palm Harbor, George Jenkins, Pasco
Pool H -Carroll wood Day, Strawberry Crest, Plant 2- Somerset Academy, Panarock, Countryside 2, Wire Grass Ranch, East Lake 2, Wire Grass Ranch 2, Fort Meade.
With over 60 teams and a big man camp going on simultaneously there is going to be a ton of recruiting news and you won't want to miss any of it. The entire USFNation staff will be on-hand to deliver you the best coverage possible. Here is what you can expect:
· In-depth observations and opinions on the top recruits at the camp.
· Find out who the big names are that showed up.
· Interviews with key prospects on the USF recruiting board.
· Video of some of USF's commits in action
· Video interviews.
· Multiple photo galleries.
· A list of the top performers and breakout players.
· Plus all the recruiting scoop, and of course USFN members are the first to know of any commits or breaking news that might happen while the tournament is underway.
If you are not a member this is one weekend you won't want to miss out on. Why not give us a try? Sign up FREE for 7 days and the only thing you'll regret is that you didn't sign up sooner!